Changes in Gothic Literature

Changes in Gothic Literature - ENGL 2210 Batten 12/4/08...

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ENGL 2210 Batten 12/4/08 Word Count: 1,649 Changes in Gothic Literature The purpose of Gothic literature has always been to entertain audiences and inadvertently teach them a moral lesson. Typically, the Gothic is looked down upon, more as a pop-culture type of literature and is sometimes taken lightly. However, if studied, it is clearly deeper than that. It contains terror, the supernatural, and demons. Originally, in the Enlightenment Gothic, the terror was an outside force, sometimes a human; it influenced the main character into performing immoral acts. The main character in this type of gothic was one that the audience was not supposed to like, one that encompassed characteristics that were undesirable and inappropriate. Seeing what happens to this type of character was a way of encouraging the readers to act in such a way that was opposite of what the main character was doing. Over the years the gothic changed, and in the Victorian Gothic, the idea of an outside terror began to blend with an inner-type terror. The elements of ghosts were still there, however, inner terror is introduced in the form of a psychological disease. This type of gothic entertained readers, yet at the same time, made them pay attention to the fact that mental illness can strike anyone, not just a character of evil value. In Postmodern Gothic, these terms are changed once more. Now the terror that is introduced is fully focused on the inside, and typically chooses an innocent subject. It is more attentive to demons, and having a guiltless persecuted maiden be the main character terrifies an audience in a way that is different that any other type of gothic text or film. The Enlightenment Gothic focuses on outside terror. The demon that constantly tortures Ambrosio in The Monk is an outside force, not one from within. Being a priest, he is constantly tested by this demon to break his vows, such as celibacy, “drunk with desire, he pressed his lips
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to those which sought them; his kisses vied with Matilda’s in warmth and passion: he clasped her rapturously in his arms; he forgot his vows, his sanctity, and his fame; he remembered nothing but the pleasure and opportunity.” (104). This makes the reader lose any respect that they may have had for Ambrosio and lets them clearly see that this demon is slowly taking over his life. The demon that is controlling him is in human form, and that human is Matilda.
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This note was uploaded on 05/27/2011 for the course ENGL 2020 taught by Professor Bremm during the Spring '08 term at Auburn University.

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Changes in Gothic Literature - ENGL 2210 Batten 12/4/08...

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